2016 in Review

2016 Leadership Team

Coaches: Mohammad Al-Sweity, Ibrahim Abu Asbeh

Fulbright Leadership Team: Summer Forester, Emily Gallagher

Speakers: Batoul Arnaout, Dania Qaryouti, Jasmine Kadoura

2016 Weekly Camp Recaps

Week 1 (February 27):

At 10 a.m. every morning Coach Mohammad Sweity leads the girls on a run through Sports City. To test the girl’s running ability, the first week began with a 4km run. More than half of the girls had never before run 4km at one time, but they all finished the laps with a sprint! 

Afterwards, Coach Sweity taught the girls the importance of stretching after a run. They formed a circle and counted to 20 in Arabic as they touched their toes, stretched their arms, and loosened their necks and shoulders. 

The General Secretary of the Jordanian Athletics Federation Ibrahim Abu Asbeh and Coach Sweity were both friends of Nina and led the first talk of the camp. They told stories of Nina, and explained why we hold this camp in her honor. 

After having a healthy lunch provided by Sports City, the day ended with name games and team-building activities. The girls all connected hands in a big knot and worked together to un-twist. By the end they were all laughing and becoming friends. 

Week 2 (March 5):

The second week of camp started with a lap through the forest trails in Sports City followed by shuttle run relays. The girls had a lot of fun racing against each other and testing how fast they could run. 

Dr. Dania Qaryouti was the speaker this week. Her talk about nutrition and body image was informative and had the girls continuing the conversation about healthy living into lunch. One girl raised her hand and asked Dr. Dania, “what if I don’t like vegetables?” They negotiated back and forth until she came to the realization that she did indeed like broccoli. 

In the afternoon each girl received a “healthy living” notebook. Their homework was to write down all the healthy food they ate that week. The day ended with the girls cheering Nina’s name. 

Week 3 (March 12):

This week’s session started with a warm-up 2km lap. Then the girls were timed as they sprinted 25 meters, did 10 sit ups, and sprinted back 25 meters. They were so fast! Some girls asked if they could do it again and again so they could try and improve their times. 

Batoul Arnaout, founder of Better Opportunities and Options for Sports Today (BOOST), spoke to the girls about the power of sports. She had the girls list what they felt when they ran, which ranged from “hot” to “happy”, and encouraged them to think positively about sports. She then showed video clips of people who had handicaps, but still overcame their disabilities to become successful athletes. 

After lunch the girls were given magazine photos of people with different body sizes, ethnicity, and style and told to pick some that they thought were beautiful. They glued photos onto colorful papers and presented why they thought each person was beautiful. One of our campers, Sara, chose a women running with prosthetic legs and said she was beautiful because she was happy and exercising. 

Week 4 (March 19):

This week’s theme was strength training. After the morning run, the girls gathered together to listen to personal trainer Jasmine Kadoura explain why strength training should be paired with cardio. Jasmine taught them proper form for push-ups, squats, bicycle kicks, and burpees. All the girls were feeling sore by the end of the lesson and gladly welcomed a breathing exercise. 

The day ended with the girls presenting their homework from last week: to describe a role model. Each girl stood in front of the group and talked about their mom, dad, famous athletes, or even the comedian Mr. Bean. One of the mothers was listening and decided to join the conversation. She told the girls that she chose herself as a role model because it is important to always love yourself. All the girls clapped at the end of each presentation and cheered each other on. 

Week 5 (March 26):

This Saturday is the last week of camp. The final theme was on “Global Running Culture,” where the campers discussed runners who compete all over the world, such as their coach, Mohammad Sweity. 

The day also included instructions on race-day preparations to teach the girls how to prepare for their final race. Camp concluded with a group discussion about what the runners learned from the camp and about their goals in sports and in life.